Profanity has become more commonplace on-screen and online in recent years. However, new research shows the increasing rate of profanity use in today's Hollywood films. (See chart below.)
For example, in 1939, Gone with the Wind was the first film to use a profane word. Everybody remembers that line, Scarlet. Now, compare that to The Wolf of Wall Street with its 798 profane utterances. Times have indeed changed!
Thus, profanity may be counted in terms of dozens of phrases and words and up to many hundreds of instances per movie. Today's box office hits may include hundreds of profanities, in addition to scenes with nudity, sex and/or graphic violence.
In 2012, more than half of all films were R-rated and those films are not really scrutinized for profanity.
What's the trend in movies?
- There has been an almost 10x increase in swearing between the 1940s and now.
- 1966 = hell became most popular.
- 1971 = the f-word was used for the first time in a film.
- 1982 = sh*t became most popular.
- 1986 = the f-word became most popular.
- Today, the f-word is the most popular profanity used in films.
What's the solution for families?
To be able to watch movies with my kids at home, I have used a variety of filtering solutions over the years to remove profanity, nudity and violence. First, I tried renting edited DVDs at the clean video store in the late 1990s. But Hollywood soon shut down those companies for editing their films in copyright infringement cases.
A few years later, I bought a special DVD player that offered filtered movies. That product required that I buy a customized DVD player, that I download "filters" on to a USB drive that was inserted into the DVD player and that I rented a DVD to watch. Still, the editing wasn't great and entire sentences were removed.
Through these complex processes, I always had hope for a day that things would be simpler and better.
Fast-forward to today. There's VidAngel -- the first solution providing family-friendly online movies which you stream in the comfort of your home. And no, I'm not affiliated with the company and no, I'm not being paid.
Now, you can watch movies with the kids without bad words, violence, nudity or sex scenes. There are no devices to buy, no systems to install. You just visit the VidAngel website, pick a movie, use the parental guide to decide which words and scenes to remove, and then hit play! It's very simple.
It's great to get back to watching first-rate Hollywood films without gratuitous profanity or sexual content. I think Clark Gable would approve.
Note: This article and the opinions expressed here are from Russ Warner, Internet safety expert and CEO of ContentWatch, makers of parental control software Net Nanny.
Follow Russ Warner on Google+.